Today we began a new early morning time for our small group leaders. The 12 of us discussed our growth goals as leaders, the message from Gateway yesterday, and the Sermon on the Mount. I am excited to see how God moves in our lives this summer as we study and memorize Matthew 5-7 over the course of the summer while developing our skills as leaders.
In the course of the preparation, I found some fascinating quotes which indicate how Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was the inspiration and even the method Gandhi used to bring freedom to the people of India which in turn helped Martin Luther King, Jr. in his fight for civil rights in the U.S.A..
Lord Irwin asked Gandhi what he thought would solve the problems between Great Britain and India. Gandhi picked up a Bible and opened it to the fifth chapter of Matthew and said: “When your country and mine shall get together on the teachings laid down by Christ in this Sermon on the Mount, we shall have solved the problems not only of our countries but those of the whole world.”
**“But the New Testament produced a different impression, especially the Sermon on the Mount which went straight to my heart,” Gandhi relates in his autobiography. “The verses ‘But I say unto you that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man take away thy coat let him have thy cloak too,’ delighted me beyond measure.”
**”The message of Jesus as I understand it, is contained in the Sermon on the Mount unadulterated and taken as a whole. If then I had to face only the Sermon on the Mount and my own interpretation of it, I should not hesitate to say, ‘Oh, yes, I am a Christian.’ But negatively I can tell you that in my humble opinion, what passes as Christianity is a negation of the Sermon on the Mount.” ~Mohandas Gandhi
**”It is ironic, yet inescapably true that the greatest Christian of the modern world was a man who never embraced Christianity.” – Dr. Mordecai Johnson discussing the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi
Martin Luther King became extremely enthused about Gandhi’s ideas. King states in Stride Toward Freedom: “Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale…. It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking…. I came to feel that this was the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.”
If so many have found political and civil freedom through the words of Jesus, how much more powerful will it be if we were to apply these words to our spiritual lives and the lives of others?